I’m That Guy
The following is an excerpt from the new Skyhorse Publishing bookFaith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets by Greg W. Prince.
If you’re a Mets fan, you know me. How could you not? I’m you. Maybe a little older or perhaps younger, probably a bit heavier, no doubt substantively more weighed down by facts, figures and occasionally accursed memory, but I’m essentially you.
That is if you’re a Mets fan. ‘Cause that’s what I am. And that’s what I’m here to talk about.
I can talk about being a Mets fan from the moment they open Gate C for batting practice (if, in fact, we still have a Gate C) ’til the tarp covers the field. I can talk about being a Mets fan through an entire homestand and a couple of road trips. I can talk about being a Mets fan when I’m supposed to be talking about or thinking about anything else. I don’t know if it’s something to brag about, it’s just what I do.
I’m you. I’m a Mets fan. What the hell else are we going to talk about? And this is my life, see? There are other aspects to it, but when disconnected from the Mets, few of them are significant to me, not really. Don’t pity me, however. I like being this guy. Actually, I like being “That Guy.” You know …
That guy from work who has all that Mets stuff on his desk and who you can’t stump on baseball trivia and always remembers who was traded for who and when.
That guy from down the block who’s always going to or coming back from Shea; I swear he must have like ten different Mets jackets.
That guy at that thing who we thought was hard of hearing and wore an amplification device. Turned out it was an earplug for a radio. He was listening to WFAN the whole time.
That guy. The Mets fan. He’s the biggest Mets fan I know.
I don’t mean to declare myself a bigger Mets fan than you. That would be impolite and unknowable on my part. I’ll give you yourself. You wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t think you were the biggest Mets fan you know. But if you exclude yourself, I think you’ll find I’m decent Met company.
Yes, I have my share of bobbleheads and tchotchkes, enough overpriced licensed Mets crap to pay for at least one of Johan Santana’s warmup tosses. I could probably arrange to function an entire day and never go without seeing orange or blue. But it’s not my merchandise that makes me a big Mets fan. Other people have more stuff.
And I am pretty good at remembering the obscure Mets and Mets happenings, partly from a memory which I’m told is exceptional (I wouldn’t know; it’s the only memory I’ve ever had), partly from my conviction that nothing about the Mets should be considered obscure. But it’s not the knowledge that makes me a big Mets fan. Other people know more stuff.
Can’t even say it’s because I’ve been to more games than most Mets fans. I’ve been to a lot, but I’ve never been a season ticketholder. I do go out of my way to keep up, pitch by pitch, but it’s not my commitment to staying current that makes me a big Mets fan. Other people have seen more stuff.
Yet after forty years as “That Guy,” I can’t believe anyone takes it more personally than me; that anyone embraces it more fervently than me; that anyone gives it more thought than me; that anyone, even after the final loss of 2007 yielded its mass quantities of devastation upon my psyche, was less willing to disavow it than me. I may grow tired of the Mets at the nadirs when they are less than Amazin’, but I never tire of being a Mets fan. And I do love to talk about it with other Mets fans, other baseball fans, anybody who’ll listen.
If I’m true to my own self, it’s my life. It’s how I interact with those I care about most, whether it’s my family, my friends, my cats sometimes. It’s what I do. It was the case when I was six; it’s been the case throughout the long season that’s been in progress ever since; it’s the case right now. I never got the memo that I was supposed to outgrow these Amazin’, Amazin’, Amazin’ Mets.
I guess I’m just easily amazed.
You can order a copy of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets by Greg W. Prince (foreword by Jason Fry; afterword with Gary Cohen) from Amazon. You can read more about the Mets from Greg and Jason at their blog, Faith and Fear in Flushing.